This maternity leave was different, more difficult now that I was managing two little souls. I think that is why it makes it harder to return to work, because I am leaving two kids behind. I know I am a better mother when I have balance and work in my life, so I do look forward to work, having that responsibility and interfacing with my colleagues again. So what makes the return so difficult? The realization that Bodhi's newborn phase is behind me, it soon will become a distant memory and all those baby snuggles, coos, middle of the night cuddle sessions have come to a close. I finally have to admit that he is growing up and those first few months of newborn baby bliss are behind me. I won't get them back. Having gone through this before I know he has so many fun milestones ahead, but ugh it is so gut wrenching to admit he is not my small newborn baby anymore. I wish I let him sleep on me longer, I wish I stared at his face more, I wish I embraced him even when he was crying. I won't get this time back and I know how fast they grow, so as I return to work I am faced with knowing how much change he will go through in the next 6-months to become less and less of my baby and into a toddler.
I've also spent so much quality time with Emerson the past five months. Honestly, this maternity leave was probably more about her than Bodhi. Tending to a toddler's needs took more of my time and energy than taking care of Bodhi. Although exhausting, these past five months I've experienced Emerson's vocabulary blossom, her imagination starting to form, her independence and curiosity surge. I've also witnessed how kind her heart is, the love for her family, especially her baby brother. I know she has to grow up too, but with this maternity leave ending it feels like I am giving up another baby. She will start preschool in August and while I know it will be good for her development, it is just as gut wrenching as kissing Bodhi's newborn months goodbye.
Maternity leave is a real paradox to me. It is so wonderful to have that time with your baby, to bond, to form a deep love, to reap the rewards of the previous 9-months. Yet, maternity leave can be a lonely time. You miss adult conversation and interaction, it is fairly impossible for your partner to understand what you are going through physically and emotionally, and you are forced to cope with loosing the identity you held for the past 20 some years. You are tired, you are exhausted, your body is not your own. But, despite all this I don't want it to end!
So, Mr. Bodhi I just want to say it has been such a joy getting these five-months with you. You truly are the sweetest little boy. I wish I could have given you more attention but I am so thankful you enjoyed watching the interaction of me and your sister. Because of this, I know you are patient, kind, and curious about the ways of the world. I know we have so many amazing milestones ahead, but know that I will always cherish the private moments we had the past five-months and carry them in my heart forever.
And to my dear sweet Emerson, I've watched you blossom into a loving and kind big sister. I know you cannot wait to show Bodhi the ways of the world! I know I wasn't always patient and sometimes lost my temper, but I love how determined you are to get things right and I appreciate your openness to forgiveness. You are a bright light in our lives and I hope you never lose your sense of wonder.